“You can’t wear shorts, mom,” said my teenage son rolling his eyes, “please!!”
That was 14 years ago. I didn’t. Last week they became my challenge outfit. I went to TopShop. I tried. I loved. I bought. HOT PANTS. Those tiny things I wore in the seventies.
I took a deep, deep breath and wore them on the streets of LA a week ago. My 28 year old son applauded me from the depths of his Millennial cool.
“Hot pants” are one of my challenge outfits as it pokes my worry of being “too much, too loud, too silly” and going deeper it is my fear of being judged an “easy woman”, in my medieval memories I was burnt on a stake as the wild and free “la putain”.
Of course this moment of empowerment has a story.
It started with “Look at us.”
For our afternoon meet in a Pasadena cafe Barbara Holmes and Loretta Sayers both coincidentally dressed in comfy plaid. I came in a pink jumpsuit. “Sure, you did.” We laughed. Barbara pointed under the table, where even our sneakers told the same story; comfy, comfy, trendy and not so comfy.
“Let’s play dressing you up, ladies”
After my yearlong, sometimes careful and other times over the top outfit journey it was time to be a siren and call others to the stage.
“ReBelle your authentic inner beauty.”
“How?” asked my friend Barbara who is known as Barbie.
“We are like like scientists; we experiment,” I answered.
“Let’s ReBelle Barbie.”
We did. We evoked our inner tomboys with bib overalls. We slipped into long coats and played the Matrix, “We know Kung Fu.” I convinced Barbie to try a jumpsuit, (see below) which women often feel they shouldn’t do or can’t fit in. I love the jumpsuit’s Barbarella power and feel that every woman should have one. I want to own 365 one day:)
We successfully re-belled Barbie, her inner child loved to play and her feminine power was high lighted. Both of us had a blast.
That’s when I got the idea of challenge outfits.
I went on a hunt, let my intuition take over and mailed Loretta her challenge; a trendy metallic pencil skirt.
Loretta says, “At first I felt awkward.. But within minutes I felt empowered. I started to think that just maybe I could pull this off. I felt pretty yet powerful. After texting Angie a photo, we chatted for a bit and she helped me come up with this: I felt like a Goddess rising from the ashes of a ruined castle. “ The outfit inspired Loretta to the beautiful ruins of Knapps Castle.
”Boom! 💥” she wrote.
Outfits are feelings. On my designer hunting trip through LA I discovered a piece for hiking girl Patrice.
Patrice says on her blog, “my style is usually more on the conservative side, my idea of being rebellious is wearing red or a statement piece of jewelry… Angie… sent me something that would blend a “little sexiness with my healthy hiking style.” Her exact words. The moment my jacket arrived, I almost screamed with joy. It was so pretty, so interesting and somehow, so me! That is what good stylists do, they help you express yourself in unexpected ways. Angie thank you for helping me find my “inner rebel” I will be allowing this side of me to come out more often!”
Boom No 2 and 3💥
Outfits aren’t just something we throw on to hide or to impress, they can be the best sidekicks to discovering stories about ourselves we might have forgotten or did not dare to look at, and they’re always empowering when we play. They are mother’s little helper to crack the style box or mindset we might not be so happily stuck in after all.
#metoo, said my next “power girl to be” using the formerly dark and depressing hashtag in a newly transformed empowering way. The journey with Rebecca from “Are you ready to organize” has begun. She mixes and matches women and junior sizes from 4 - 10 to fit her body shape perfectly. As a fashionista I dreamt of the easy way out; can I please be a size Zero, be skinny and wear everything? But then, where’s the creative fun in that? As a teenager I popped pills to stay under 100 pounds. In my 50’s being a size 6 going up to size 8 I stopped buying clothes, which made me so unhappy that I stopped eating or having champagne after my stressful job. Just saying; I come from a lifelong fight with body issues and self acceptance. Today I swagger between 2 and 4 and have the mix and match, improvising and innovating fun I loved all my life. I am happy when I can create.
To accept and love challenges means to be in for personal expansion. “We don’t groe old, we grow,” I wrote three years ago when the Ageless Rebellion started.
On my journey to find tops for busty women I got into plus sizes. After scrolling through the first ten online stores my rebel was awakened. Where are sizes 10 and up in the sexy, trendy-cool sections? What the heck is this need to call women over 50 and over size 8 “MATURE” and make them hide their assets? Come back to read the story.
Some women say life begins at 50. I’m a late boomer, I “woke late” to be my inner hurricane; I started to write my new story at 60.
Outfits truly were my sword swinging sidekick on the road to ageless.
Let’s play dress up, ladies; get your challenge outfits.